Peter Sauber says his team will have to work hard to continue the progress made so far this season after admitting that a difficult start to 2010 had made it 'virtually impossible' to attract sponsors.
Having reclaimed control of the team from BMW after the manufacturer quit the sport, Sauber saw his team fail to score in the first six races of the season as it struggled for reliability and speed compared to its rivals.
Sauber admits that the poor performances early in 2010 made it hard to find sponsors but with backing from Carlos Slim's Telmex company – amongst others – the team has started the season well, with exclusion from the Australian GP the only thing to have stopped Sauber scoring in all three races so far.
“The situation as a whole for our team already looks a lot healthier than it did twelve months ago,” he said. “2010 was a very difficult year for us. The transformation from a works team back to a private set-up used up a lot of our energy, and at the start of the season in particular, our results on the track were extremely poor. From this position it was also virtually impossible to find sponsors for 2011.
“However, our car is no longer all white and we can be proud of that. Inevitably in a team of our size – where the engineers' ideas outweigh the resources available to them – additional financial resources are reflected directly in performance. We are therefore continuing our search for sponsors.
“As far as the technical side is concerned, I would like to underline that the Sauber C30-Ferrari is the first car for which James Key has been responsible. It is now a year since he joined us, and he has done a lot of very good things. On the one hand, there are the structural changes he has implemented. Equally, the car is meeting the aims he set out for it.
“With the C29 the main problems concerned driveability on uneven circuits and over kerbs, which could not be alleviated by mechanical adjustments to the car set-up. The C30 gives us significantly greater flexibility in terms of ride height and also has good aerodynamic efficiency. To sum up, I can say that the overall development of the Sauber F1 Team is progressing positively, but that we have to continue to work very efficiently and with great dedication against a backdrop of limited resources in order to achieve our goals for the season.”